Anthony Hopkins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Donald Sutherland

Directed by Jon Turteltaub
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
June 4, 1999

Sometimes an actor can make you believe an impossible plot, buy into prefab emotions and connect you to a character just because he's playing it. Anthony Hopkins is one of those miracle workers. Hell, he almost made Meet Joe Black bearable. Sir Tony carries the day again in this uneasy blend of Gorillas in the Mist and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. He portrays Ethan Powell, a family man and celebrated primatologist who is noted for his study of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda.

Instinct gives us a first look at Ethan that tells a different story: He's a scruffy, silent, bug-eyed loony busting heads at a Florida airport in an attempt to escape being institutionalized for killing two Rwandan park rangers. Ambitious psychiatrist Theo Cauler (Cuba Gooding Jr.) thinks he can make his career by getting through to Ethan. There might be a best seller in it as well.

A bigger question: Is there a movie in it? Hopkins and Gooding Jr. certainly perform beyond the call of melodramatic duty. And director Jon Turteltaub (Phenomenon) sets up the conflict so that danger looks ready to spring. It's the script by Gerald DiPego (Message in a Bottle) that goes soft and spongy like a marshmallow. Phenomenon, also written by DiPego, suffered a similar loss of nerve that only John Travolta's artful performance helped to redeem. Hopkins roars magnificently, but Instinct renders the apes as cuddly as a Disney cartoon family, the inmates as saner than their jailers, and the killer and the careerist as essentially good at heart. And so a film that begins with a glimpse of hell ends as a Hallmark card.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Hungry Like the Wolf”

    Duran Duran | 1982

    This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

    More Song Stories entries »